Jazz (Queen album)

Studio album by Queen
Released 10 November 1978
Recorded July – October 1978, Mountain Studios, Montreux and Super Bear Studios, Berre-les-Alpes, France
Genre Rock
Length 44:44
Label EMI, Parlophone (Europe)
Elektra, Hollywood (USA)
Producer Queen, Roy Thomas Baker
Queen chronology
News of the World
The Game
Singles from Jazz
  1. "Bicycle Race"/"Fat Bottomed Girls"
    Released: 13 October 1978
  2. "Don't Stop Me Now"
    Released: 26 January 1979
  3. "Mustapha"
    Released: 1979 (Bolivia, Germany, Spain, Yugoslavia only)
  4. "Jealousy"
    Released: 1979 (US, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, USSR only)

Jazz is the seventh studio album by British rock band Queen, released in November 1978. The album's varying musical styles were alternately praised and criticised; it was subject to a viciously scathing Rolling Stone review by Dave Marsh which included the suggestion that "Queen may be the first truly fascist rock band".[1] Nevertheless, the album reached #6 on the US Billboard 200. Roy Thomas Baker temporarily reunited with Queen and became their producer for this album. It was three years since he co-produced Queen's 1975 album A Night at the Opera, but this album also was the last he co-produced for the band.

Queen sold the album with a poster depicting the all-female nude bicycle race staged to promote "Fat Bottomed Girls". A small version of the poster comes with the Crown Jewels box set. This was the first Queen album recorded outside the UK, for tax purposes. Included in the liner notes is the attribution "Thunderbolt courtesy of God", referring to the crash of thunder heard at the end of the song "Dead On Time" which May recorded with a portable audio recorder during a thunderstorm. The album artwork was suggested by Roger Taylor, who previously saw a similar design painted on the Berlin Wall.


Track listing

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Mustapha"   Freddie Mercury 3:01
2. "Fat Bottomed Girls"   Brian May 4:16
3. "Jealousy"   Mercury 3:14
4. "Bicycle Race"   Mercury 3:01
5. "If You Can't Beat Them"   John Deacon 4:15
6. "Let Me Entertain You"   Mercury 3:01
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Dead on Time"   May 3:23
2. "In Only Seven Days"   Deacon 2:30
3. "Dreamer's Ball"   May 3:30
4. "Fun It"   Roger Taylor 3:29
5. "Leaving Home Ain't Easy"   May 3:15
6. "Don't Stop Me Now"   Mercury 3:29
7. "More of That Jazz"   Taylor 4:16
Bonus tracks (1991 Hollywood Records CD reissue)
No. Title Length
1. "Fat Bottomed Girls (1991 remix)"   4:22
2. "Bicycle Race (1991 remix)"   4:59
2011 Bonus EP
No. Title Length
1. "Fat Bottomed Girls (Single version)"   3:23
2. "Bicycle Race (Instrumental)"   3:09
3. "Don't Stop Me Now (With long-lost guitars)"   3:34
4. "Let Me Entertain You (Live in Montreal, November 1981)"   2:48
5. "Dreamer's Ball (Early acoustic take, August 1978)"   3:40
2011 iTunes Bonus Videos
No. Title Length
1. "Bicycle Race (Promo Video performance, 1978)"    
2. "Fat Bottomed Girls (Live at Milton Keynes Bowl, 1982)"    
3. "Let Me Entertain You (Live in Japan, 1979)"    


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]
Creem (unfavourable)[3]
Q 4/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau (C+)[5]
Rolling Stone (unfavourable)[6]
Wiki letter w.svg This table needs to be expanded using prose. See the guideline for more information.

Critical reaction upon release was not particularly favourable, with scathing reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone and Creem. In recent years, reviews have tended to be more favourable, with Allmusic, Q and George Starostin giving positive reviews.

Song information


"Mustapha" (About this sound Sample ) is a song written by Freddie Mercury. It was released as a single in 1979.

The lyrics consist of English, Arabic, Persian and possibly a number of invented words. Some understandable words are "Mustapha", "Ibrahim" and the phrases "Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you", "salaam alaykum" and "alaykum salaam".

In live performances, such as the performance on Live Killers, Mercury would often sing the opening vocals of "Mustapha" in place of the complex introduction to "Bohemian Rhapsody", going from "Allah will pray for you" to "Mama, just killed a man...". However, sometimes the band performed an almost full version of the song, with Mercury at the piano.

Fat Bottomed Girls

"Fat Bottomed Girls" was written by May with lead vocals shared by Mercury, and May, who sings lead on the chorus. On stage Mercury sang the entire song, with Taylor and May doing harmonies. Both guitar and bass are played in drop-D tuning for this song, a rarity for Queen.


"Jealousy" was penned by Mercury and features May playing his Hairfred acoustic guitar placing small pieces of piano wire under the frets to produce the "buzzing" effect of a sitar. This effect had already been used on "White Queen (As It Began)", from Queen II. All vocals were recorded by Mercury.

Bicycle Race

"Bicycle Race"(Sample ) is a complex composition by Mercury. It features several modulations, unusual chord functions, a metre change (4/4 to 6/8 and back), and a programmatic section (a race of guitars emulating the bicycle race).

If You Can't Beat Them

"If You Can't Beat Them" was another hard rock composition by John Deacon and was a live favourite for the band in late '70s. It is one of the few songs by Deacon where May plays all the guitars and contains a guitar solo of over two minutes, making it one of the longest guitar solos in a Queen song. It has since featured as the theme tune to a popular game show, If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them, hosted by Larry Grayson.[citation needed]

Let Me Entertain You

"Let Me Entertain You" was written by Mercury, directed towards the audience. The line "we'll sing to you in Japanese" is a reference to May's Teo Torriatte, from A Day at the Races. The idea of a guitar riff in parallel sixths was re-used later in the Innuendo track, "The Hitman".

Dead on Time

"Dead on Time", written by May, features some of the fastest and most aggressive guitar work by its author, as well as some equally complicated yet ferocious drumming by Taylor. Performed at breakneck speed, it was considered by most fans to be an ideal live number, but was curiously never played in concert; May would only incorporate snippets of it in his guitar solos during the Jazz Tour.

The song resembles "Keep Yourself Alive" from Queen's self-titled debut album. In the last chorus, the words "keep yourself alive" are sung, and in the lyrics attached to the album, those words are written in capitals.

The song ends with the sound of a thunderbolt, followed by Mercury screaming "You're dead!" The thunderbolt was actually recorded by May on a portable recorder during a vicious thunderstorm. The album's liner notes credit the thunderbolt to God.

In Only Seven Days

"In Only Seven Days" is Deacon's other songwriting contribution on the album, and share similarities with one of his previous songs, "Spread Your Wings". Deacon also played acoustic guitar and electric guitar.

Dreamers Ball

"Dreamers Ball" is May's tribute to Elvis Presley, who had died one year before. The arrangement for the concert version was completely different, with May and Taylor doing vocal brasses.

Fun It

"Fun It" was a funk track with a disco vibe by Taylor, where both Mercury and himself shared the vocals. Taylor did the lead vocals, while Mercury was backup. Taylor used Syndrum pads and played most of the instruments. It can be seen a precursor to Another One Bites the Dust, especially with the intro of this track.

Leaving Home Ain't Easy

"Leaving Home Ain't Easy" was a ballad by May, who also sang all the vocals (lead and harmony). His voice was sped up for the bridge.

Don't Stop Me Now

"Don't Stop Me Now" is Mercury's top 10 single in the UK and is one of Queen's most famous songs. May's only input is a short guitar solo and backing vocals. The song was used in the now-famous bar scene of the motion picture Shaun of the Dead. In addition, the BBC2 show Top Gear named it the top song in a viewer poll of Top Ten driving songs. "Don't Stop Me Now" was also used for the Google Doodle made to commemorate Freddie Mercury's 65 birthday on September 5, 2011.

More of that Jazz

"More of that Jazz" is yet another one of Taylor's bitter comments about current society and the way rock and roll is disrespected. It is loop based and Taylor plays most instruments and sings all vocals, reaching some very high notes (peaking on an E5). The outro also contains short clips from many songs on the album, including "Dead on Time", "Bicycle Race", "Mustapha", "If You Can't Beat Them", "Fun It", and "Fat Bottomed Girls".


  • Freddie Mercury: lead and backing vocals, piano
  • Brian May: electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals, lead vocals on and "Leaving Home Ain't Easy"
  • Roger Taylor: drums, percussion, backing vocals, electric guitar, bass guitar, lead vocals on "Fun It" and "More of That Jazz"
  • John Deacon: bass guitar, electric and acoustic guitars

Sound engineers:

  • Geoff Workman
  • John Etchells

2011 Re-issue

On 8 November 2010, record company Universal Music announced a remastered and expanded reissue of the album set for release in March 2011. This as part of a new record deal between Queen and Universal Music, which meant Queen's association with EMI would come to an end after almost 40 years. According to Universal Music, all Queen albums are to be remastered and reissued in 2011. According to some reports, this reissue will include a deluxe edition which will contain five additional tracks along with commentaries from the band about each song. The second batch of albums (the band's middle five albums) was released in June 2011.


Four singles were released from the album:

  • "Bicycle Race"/"Fat Bottomed Girls (edit)" – Elektra E45541; released December, 1978
"Bicycle Race" and "Fat Bottomed Girls" were released in 1978 as a double A-side; the band staged a famous nude, all-female bicycle race to promote the single. The bicycle race took place on 17 September 1978 at Wimbledon Stadium in London. The picture sleeve showed a rear view of one of the ladies on her bicycle, but a pair of red panties were painted on to avoid public outcry. Legend has it that the band borrowed the bicycles from a store ("Halfords," according to the liner notes), but upon returning them were informed that they would have to purchase all the seats, as they had been used in an improper manner (i.e. without clothing). Fat Bottomed Girls also contains one of Roger Taylor's most memorable drum fills at about 2:52 on the album Jazz, but at 2:16 on greatest hits.
  • "Mustapha" was released in 1979 in only Bolivia, Spain, Yugoslavia and Germany. Its B-side was "Dead On Time" ("In Only Seven Days" in Yugoslavia).
  • "Don't Stop Me Now"/"More Of That Jazz" – Elektra E46008; released February, 1979
"Don't Stop Me Now" was released in 1979; its B-side was "In Only Seven Days" ("More Of That Jazz" in the USA and Canada).
  • "Jealousy"/"Fun It" – Elektra E46039; released April, 1979
"Jealousy" was released in 1979 in the United States, New Zealand, Brazil, Russia, and Canada; its B-side was "Fun It" ("Don't Stop Me Now" in Russia, on a blue flexi disc).

Chart performance

Chart (1978) Peak
Austrian Albums Chart[7] 8
Canadian Albums Chart[8] 13
Dutch Albums Chart[9] 3
French Albums Chart[10] 7
German Albums Chart[11] 5
New Zealand Albums Chart[12] 20
Norwegian Albums Chart[13] 6
Swedish Albums Chart[14] 6
UK Albums Chart[15] 2
U.S. Billboard 200[16] 6


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